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How I Created A Minimalist Wardrobe

I think we can all be guilty of buying an excessive amount of clothing. Perhaps you don’t notice until you’re taking off the tags of a shirt you bought months ago or when there’s simply not enough hangers in your closet for your recent haul. Personally, I have been guilty of spending nights adding items to my imaginary cart and simply popping into stores on King St. to pass the time between classes. However, I never noticed how much clothing I owned until I had two large wake-up calls last year.

When I moved off campus my sophomore year into an old historic Charleston home, I was forced to live in a room with no closet…(a moment of pause to allow that to sink in). Instead, all my clothing hung on a clothing rack, which took up one whole side of my room. Sure, at first it felt like I was living in a boutique of my own clothes, however, pretty quickly, it became overwhelming to look at. Friends would make comments about how many white tennis shoes I acquired over the years and just how many shades of gray I could own sweaters in. The constant clutter and remarks from friends were my wake-up calls to achieve my Pinterest board’s dream of a minimalist wardrobe. After numerous trips to Goodwill and a fresh mindset, I was able to cut my closet in half, helping me to replenish my mental health and style. 

Although still learning, I am on the road to perfecting a minimalist look. Through my experience, I have learned that layering is key, a wide variety of jewelry is a must, and basic shirts are the way to go. If you are looking to save your bank account or mental health like I was, read on to figure out what to focus on while you build your minimalist wardrobe. 

Layer Your Outfits

My 15-year-old self would laugh if I ever told someone to layer their outfits. However, owning a minimalist wardrobe has done wonders. Owning basic articles of clothing and simply altering out a new sweater or fitted turtleneck under a t-shirt makes your once-old outfits new again. My favorite recent trend has been a turtleneck under an old crewneck sweatshirt or a tight cropped tank under an open cardigan. Learning how to layer with style won’t have you urging to buy new clothes, as you’ll learn how to replenish the ones already in your closet.

Use Jewelry as a Staple Point
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I stand by Amazon jewelry for basic, cheap staple points in my wardrobe. A chunky necklace or fresh pair of hoops to any outfit gives it a whole new feel. If last week you wore a basic white tee, try spicing it up with a gold necklace with bright colors! 

Buy Basic Tops

I have never been someone to buy basic color shirts. I always gravitated towards the colorful out the ordinary (and often) Free People-style blouses. However, I found myself saving these shirts for “special occasions,” which means I would buy relatively expensive shirts and have them sit in my closet. After donating my clothes to Goodwill, I found myself buying every basic color shirt there was in either Target or Madewell’s sale section. Having basic-colored shirts will allow you to style them regardless of the pants or jewelry in your closet! My recommendation would be to buy solid-colored shirts (purple, gray, pink, black e.x) and allow your layering, jewelry, and smile to bring the outfit alive! 

Keep Purposeful Shoes
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I had this unhealthy tendency that whenever I entered TJ MAXX, I would leave with at least one pair of sneaks (they’re usually under $20!). However, like the rest of my closet, I often found myself gravitating towards 3 pairs of shoes, leaving the others behind. While creating my minimalist wardrobe, I chose to keep my “go-to shoes” and ones that could work with multiple outfits, such as white tennis shoes and tan sandals.  

Prioritize Your Favorite Jeans

The clutter of the closet…jeans. If your anything like me, you’ll have an excuse for why you own so many jeans; “these ones are a lighter washed jean, these ones have holes, these are straight fitted.” Sounds foolish, but yes, I’d defend my jeans. When it came to decluttering my closet, choosing which style of jeans to keep was difficult, however, after donating many pairs, I’ve realized how much room they take up. Try asking yourself which jeans you wear the most often and consider colors in the decision-making. Try keeping a pair of black jeans, medium washed, and light washed jeans to have options while creating your outfit.

Iris Neubecker is a junior at the College of Charleston, pursuing a degree in Communication and International Studies. Originally from Boston MA, Iris enjoys finding the best coffee shops in Charleston to study at, food photography and chasing a good sunset. Iris is currently planning a month long road trip across the USA!
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